Besonderes Augenmerk richtet Friederike Barth dabei auf den philosophischen Hintergrund dieses Werks, da die in derEthikentworfene ethische Theologie Bonhoeffers auf einem zumeist unausgewiesenen, differenzierten Rezeptions- und ...
The notion of existence is a very puzzling one philosophically. Often philosophers have appealed to linguistic properties of sentences stating existence. However, the appeal to linguistic intuitions has generally not been systematic and without serious regard of relevant issues in linguistic semantics. This paper has two aims. On the one hand, it will look at statements of existence from a systematic linguistic point of view, in order to try to clarify what the actual semantics of such statements in fact is. (...) On the other hand, it will explore what sort of ontology such statements reflect. The first aim is one of linguistic semantics; the second aim is one of descriptive metaphysics. Philosophically, existence statements appear to reflect the distinction between endurance and perdurance as well as particular notions of abstract states and of kinds. Linguistically, statements of existence involve a particular way of drawing the distinction between eventive and stative verbs and between individual-level and stage-level predicates as well as a particular approach to the semantics of bare plurals and mass nouns. (shrink)
The most common philosophical view of existence is that existence amounts to existential quantification or is a second-order concept. A less common philosophical view is that existence is a first-order property distinguishing between nonexistent (past, possible, or merely intentional) objects and existing objects. An even less common philosophical view is that existence divides into different ‘modes of being’ for different kinds of entities. The aim of the present paper is to take a closer look at how the notion of existence (...) is in fact expressed in natural language. In natural language, it appears, existence is not so much expressed by quantification, which can be shown to be neutral as regards any distinction between existent and nonexistent objects that one might draw. Rather existence is expressed by predicates, and that is, first-order predicates, such as in English 'exist', 'occur', and 'obtain'. The semantic behavior of such existence predicates reveals a notion of existence that divides into at least three different kinds of modes being, reflecting the distinction between endurance and perdurance, as well as their space-related analogues, but also the particular mode of being of such entities as states, facts, conditions, and laws. (shrink)
A common view is that natural language treats numbers as abstract objects, with expressions like the number of planets, eight, as well as the number eight acting as referential terms referring to numbers. In this paper I will argue that this view about reference to numbers in natural language is fundamentally mistaken. A more thorough look at natural language reveals a very different view of the ontological status of natural numbers. On this view, numbers are not primarily treated abstract objects, (...) but rather 'aspects' of pluralities of ordinary objects, namely number tropes, a view that in fact appears to have been the Aristotelian view of numbers. Natural language moreover provides support for another view of the ontological status of numbers, on which natural numbers do not act as entities, but rather have the status of plural properties, the meaning of numerals when acting like adjectives. This view matches contemporary approaches in the philosophy of mathematics of what Dummett called the Adjectival Strategy, the view on which number terms in arithmetical sentences are not terms referring to numbers, but rather make contributions to generalizations about ordinary (and possible) objects. It is only with complex expressions somewhat at the periphery of language such as the number eight that reference to pure numbers is permitted. (shrink)
This takes a closer look at the actual semantic behavior of apparent truth predicates in English and re-evaluates the way they could motivate particular philosophical views regarding the formal status of 'truth predicates' and their semantics. The paper distinguishes two types of 'truth predicates' and proposes semantic analyses that better reflect the linguistic facts. These analyses match particular independently motivated philosophical views.
This paper reviews the role of sortals in the syntax and semantics of proper names and the related question of a mass-count distinction among proper names. The paper argues that sortals play a significant role with proper names and that that role matches individuating or ‘sortal’ classifiers in languages lacking a mass-count distinction. Proper names do not themselves classify as count, but may classify as mass or rather number-neutral. This also holds for other expressions or uses of expressions that lack (...) a syntactic mass-count distinction, namely that-clauses, predicative phrases, intensional NPs, quotations, as well as verbs with respect to their event arguments. In all those cases, the relevant diagnostics show a number-neutral status, rather than a division into mass and count. This is remarkable because it means that count status is independent of the nature of the semantic values of an expression or its conceptual content. It also means that even languages such as English or German are classifier languages when it comes to expressions or uses of expressions to which a syntactic mass-count distinction is inapplicable. (shrink)
In recent work on contextdependency, it has been argued that certain types of sentences give rise to a notion of relative truth. In particular, sentences containing predicates of personal taste and moral or aesthetic evaluation as well as epistemic modals are held to express a proposition (relative to a context of use) which is true or false not only relative to a world of evaluation, but other parameters as well, such as standards of taste or knowledge or an agent. Thus, (...) a sentence like chocolate tastes good would express a proposition p that is true or false not only at a world of evaluation, but relative to the additional parameter as well, such as a parameter of taste or an agent. I will argue that the sentences that apparently give rise to relative truth should be understood by relating them in a certain way to the first person. More precisely, such sentences express what I will call firstpersonbased genericity, a form of generalization that is based on or directed toward an essential firstperson application of the predicate. The account differs from standard relative truth account in crucial respects: it is not the truth of the proposition expressed that is relative to the first person; the proposition expressed by a sentence with a predicate of taste rather has absolute truth conditions. Instead it is the propositional content itself that requires a firstpersonal cognitive access whenever it is entertained. This account, I will argue, avoids a range of problems that standard relative truth theories of the sentences in question face and explains a number of further peculiarities that such sentences display. (shrink)
This paper proposes an ontological account of what we refer to as cases: 'the case of the stolen statue', the case of a defeat' and 'the case in which John may be late'. It is argued that cases are best suited for the role of truthmakers, which manifests itself in the appearance of 'the case' in 'it is sometimes the case that S'.
Some of the most interesting recent work in philosophy of language and metaphysics is focused on questions about propositions, the abstract, truth-bearing contents of sentences and beliefs. The aim of this guide is to give instructors and students a road map for some significant work on propositions since the mid-1990s. This work falls roughly into two areas: challenges to the existence of propositions and theories about the nature and structure of propositions. The former includes both a widely discussed puzzle about (...) propositional designators as well as direct and indirect arguments against the existence of propositions. The latter is dominated by what is currently the central debate about the metaphysics of propositions, i.e. whether they are structured, composite entities or unstructured ontological simples. This issue has eclipsed older debates about whether propositions can be identified with sets of possible worlds or other kinds of sentence intensions. Author Recommends 1. Soames, Scott. 'Direct Reference, Propositional Attitudes, and Semantic Content.' Philosophical Topics 15 (1987): 47–87. Reprinted in Propositions and Attitudes . Eds. N. Salmon and S. Soames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. 197–239. Essential groundwork for more recent work on propositions. Soames gives a careful and exacting presentation of the case against identifying propositions with sets of possible worlds or other truth-supporting circumstances. Also contains a detailed statement of the Russellian conception of propositions on which propositions are ordered sets of objects, properties and relations. 2. King, Jeffrey. 'Designating Propositions.' The Philosophical Review 111 (2002): 341–71. Sometimes substituting a definite description for a corresponding 'that'-clause can lead to bizarre changes in truth-conditions: compare 'Bill fears that Hillary will be president' with 'Bill fears the proposition that Hillary will be president'. This puzzle about propositional designators threatens the relational analysis of propositional attitude reports, the view that 'believes' expresses a relation to the proposition designated by its 'that'-clause, and thereby poses an indirect threat to the existence of propositions. King's solution posits an ambiguity in verbs like 'fear' that embed both 'that'-clauses and definite descriptions. 3. Jubien, Michael. 'Propositions and the Objects of Thought.' Philosophical Studies 104 (2001): 47–62. A direct attack on the existence of propositions. Jubien deploys an analogue of the problem that Paul Benacerraf raised for set-theoretical reductions of numbers against metaphysical reductions of propositions. Just as numbers can be reduced to sets in many different ways, any reduction of propositions brings with it equally good variants, thus making any such reduction arbitrary and unmotivated. The only alternative is to treat propositions as abstract metaphysical primitives. As Jubien argues, however, abstract primitive entities are incapable of doing what propositions must do, i.e. represent objects and states of affairs on their own, without the input of thinking subjects. The upshot is the propositions cannot be reduced and they cannot be primitive, and so they must not exist. 4. Hanks, Peter. 'How Wittgenstein Defeated Russell's Multiple Relation Theory of Judgment.' Synthese 154 (2007): 121–46. Scepticism about propositions has recently led some philosophers, Jubien included, to resuscitate Russell's multiple relation theory of judgment, the idea that judgment is a many-place relation to objects, properties and relations. This paper explains why Russell himself abandoned that theory, and why the theory is still refuted by an objection due to Wittgenstein. 5. Hofweber, Thomas. 'Inexpressible Properties and Propositions.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics . 2 vols. Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. 155–206. An indirect attack on the existence of propositions. Hofweber argues that sentences like 'Bill believes something that Hillary asserted' do not commit us to the existence of propositions. His view is that propositional quantification is an instance of what he calls 'internal' or 'inferential role' quantification, a kind of quantification that carries no ontological implications. 6. Schiffer, Stephen. The Things We Mean . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. esp. chs 1–2. Schiffer defends his theory of pleonastic propositions, on which propositions are unstructured, have no parts, and are very finely grained. 7. Bealer, George. 'Propositions.' Mind 107 (1998): 1–32. Bealer defends his algebraic theory of propositions, which, like Schiffer's pleonastic account, treats propositions as unstructured metaphysical simples. 8. King, Jeffrey. The Nature of and Structure of Content . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. The best developed current theory of the structure in structured propositions. King identifies propositions with certain kinds of facts in which objects, properties and relations are bound together by amalgams of syntactic and semantic relations. 9. Hanks, Peter. 'Recent Work on Propositions.' Philosophy Compass 4 (2009): 1–18. A survey of work on propositions since the mid-1990s that complements this teaching and learning guide. Contains responses to Jubien's and Hofweber's arguments against propositions and critical discussions of Schiffer's pleonastic propositions and King's theory of propositional structure. Online Resources 1. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/propositions/ Propositions (Matthew McGrath) 2. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/propositions-structured/ Structured Propositions (Jeffrey King) 3. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/propositions-singular/ Singular Propositions (Greg Fitch) Sample Partial Syllabus The following partial syllabus can be used as a unit on recent work on propositions in graduate level courses in philosophy of language or metaphysics. Week 1: A Substitution Puzzle About Propositional Designators King, Jeffrey. 'Designating Propositions'. Moltmann, Friederike. 'Propositional Attitudes Without Propositions.' Synthese 135 (2003): 77–118. Week 2: The Benacerraf Problem and Propositional Representation Benacerraf, Paul. 'What Numbers Could Not Be.' Philosophical Review 74 (1965): 47–73. Jubien, Michael. 'Propositions and the Objects of Thought.' Week 3: Propositional Quantification Hofweber, Thomas. 'Inexpressible Properties and Propositions'. Hofweber, Thomas. 'A Puzzle about Ontology.' Noûs 39 (2005): 256–83. Week 4: Schiffer on Pleonastic Propositions Schiffer, Stephen. 'Language-Created Language-Independent Entities.' Philosophical Topics 24 (1996): 149–67. Schiffer, Stephen. The Things We Mean , chs 1–2. Week 5: King on Structured Propositions King, Jeffrey. 'Structured Propositions and Complex Predicates.' Noûs , 29 (1995): 516–35. King, Jeffrey. The Nature and Structure of Content , chs 1–3. Focus Questions 1. Why does identifying propositions with sentence intensions, e.g. sets of possible worlds, 'require the attitudes to have a particular sort of closure under logical consequence, which they clearly don't have' (Mark Richard)? 2. How does the difference between (a) and (b) pose a threat to the existence of propositions? (a) Bill fears that Hillary will be president. (b) Bill fears the proposition that Hillary will be president. 3. What is the Benacerraf problem for metaphysical reductions of propositions? 4. Why must a proposition represent 'on its own cuff' (Michael Jubien)? Why is this a problem for the view that propositions are primitive abstract entities? 5. What does it mean to say that propositions are structured ? Give two different accounts of what propositional structure might be. (shrink)
This paper defends 'plural reference', the view that definite plurals refer to several individuals at once, and it explores how the view can account for a range of phenomena that have been discussed in the linguistic literature.
Propositions have played a central role in philosophy of language since Frege. Propositions are generally taken to be the objects of propositional attitude, the meaning of sentences, the primary bearers of truth and falsehood, and the kinds of things that quantifiers in sentential position range over. As objects of propositional attitudes, propositions can be shared by different agents and moreover can be represented in one language or another. Thus, propositions are generally taken to be mind- and language-independent entities. In this (...) paper, I want to argue that the notion of a proposition, because of a range of philosophical problems as well as problems of linguistic adequacy, should be replaced by a different notion, for almost all the roles for it has been invoked. The objects that are involved in propositional attitudes, that act as primary truth bearers, and that quantifiers in sentential position range over, I want to argue, are not propositions, but what I call attitudinal objects (or kinds of them). Attitudinal objects are entities like ‘John’s belief that S’, ‘John’s claim that S’, and ‘John’s desire to do X’. Like propositions, attitudinal objects intuitively have truth conditions essentially – or, in the case of objects like desires, corresponding conditions of satisfaction. But unlike propositions, attitudinal objects are mind-dependent and possibly act-dependent, dependent on an attitude and possibly speech act of a particular agent. Nonetheless, attitudinal objects (or kinds of them), I will argue, can serve the roles of propositions. Attitudinal objects can be shared in the sense that attitudinal objects with the same content are exactly similar (or ‘the same’), and moreover two agents may share a kind of attitudinal object, a kind whose instances are exactly similar attitudinal objects. Attitudinal objects are closely related to mental events and speech acts. However, there are fundamental ontological differences between events or acts and attitudinal objects.. (shrink)
The most common account of attitude reports is the relational analysis according towhich an attitude verb taking that-clause complements expresses a two-placerelation between agents and propositions and the that-clause acts as an expressionwhose function is to provide the propositional argument. I will argue that a closerexamination of a broader range of linguistic facts raises serious problems for thisanalysis and instead favours a Russellian `multiple relations analysis' (which hasgenerally been discarded because of its apparent obvious linguistic implausibility).The resulting account can be (...) given independent philosophical motivations within anintentionalist view of truth and predication. (shrink)
This paper concerns itself with the relation between two important semantic notions: the traditional notion of proposition and a more recent notion of context as an information state. The notion of proposition has traditionally played an important role in the theory of meaning: propositions are entities that have independent truth conditions and act as the meaning of both independent and embedded sentences as well the objects of propositional attitudes such as assertion and belief.
The most common philosophical view about the notion of existence is that it is a second-order property or existential quantification. A less common view is that existence is a (first-order) property of 'existent' as opposed to 'nonexistent' (past or merely intentional) objects. An even less common view is that existence divides into different 'modes of being' for different sorts of entities. In this paper I will take a closer look at the semantic behavior of existence predicates in natural language, such (...) as exist, occur, and obtain, arguing that existence predicates in natural language support the two less common philosophical views. I will develop explicit analyses of existence predicates in their time-relative and space-relative uses which will explain why they apply to some kinds of entities, but not others. (shrink)
Philosophers who accept tropes generally agree that tropes act as the objects of reference of nominalizations of adjectives, such as 'Socrates’ wisdom' or 'the beauty of the landscape'. This paper argues that tropes play a further important role in the semantics of natural language, namely in the semantics of bare demonstratives like 'this' and 'that' in what in linguistics is called identificational sentences.
Nominalizations are expressions that are particularly challenging philosophically in that they help form singular terms that seem to refer to abstract or derived objects often considered controversial. The three standard views about the semantics of nominalizations are  that they map mere meanings onto objects,  that they refer to implicit arguments, and  that they introduce new objects, in virtue of their compositional semantics. In the second case, nominalizations do not add anything new but pick up objects that would (...) be present anyway in the semantic structure of a corresponding sentence without a nominalization. In the first and third case, nominalizations in a sense ‘create’ new objects’, enriching the ontology on the basis of the meaning of expressions. I will argue that there is a fourth kind of nominalization which requires a quite different treatment. These are nominalizations that introduce ‘new’ objects, but only partially characterize them. Such nominalizations generally refer to events or tropes. I will explore an account according on which such nominalizations refer to truth makers. (shrink)
Based on the notion of a trope, this paper gives a novel analysis of identificational sentences such as 'this is Mary','this is a beautiful woman', 'this looks like Mary', or 'this is the same lump of clay, but not the same statue as that'.
The question whether numbers are objects is a central question in the philosophy of mathematics. Frege made use of a syntactic criterion for objethood: numbers are objects because there are singular terms that stand for them, and not just singular terms in some formal language, but in natural language in particular. In particular, Frege (1884) thought that both noun phrases like the number of planets and simple numerals like eight as in (1) are singular terms referring to numbers as abstract (...) objects. (shrink)
NPs with intensional relative clauses such as 'the impact of the book John needs to write' pose a significant challenge for trope theory (the theory of particularized properties), since they seem to refer to tropes that lack an actual bearer. This paper proposes a novel semantic analysis of such NPs on the basis of the notion of a variable object. The analysis avoids a range of difficulties that an alternative analysis based on the notion of an individual concept would face.
In this paper, I will argue that two kinds of first-person-oriented content are distinguished in more ways than usually thought and I propose an account that will shed new light on the distinction. The first kind consists of contents of attitudes de se (in a broad sense); the second kind consists of contents that give rise to intuitions of relative truth. I will present new data concerning the two kinds of first-person-oriented content, together with a novel account of propositional content (...) in general, namely based on the notion of an attitudinal object. That notion solves two major problems with Lewis's account of contents of attitudes de se and clarifies the difference between contents of attitudes de se and contents that give rise to intuitions of relative truth. I will propose an analysis of contents of the second kind in terms of what I call firstperson-based genericity, a form of genericity most explicitly expressed by sentences with generic one. I show how the overall account explains the particular semantic properties of sentences giving rise to intuitions of relative truth that distinguish them from sentences with expressions interpreted de se. I will start by introducing Lewis's account of attitudes de se and the problems that go along with that account. Introducing the notion of an attitudinal object, I will extend the account by an account of the truth conditions of the content of attitudes de se. I then discuss the second kind of first-person-oriented content, which is associated with intuitions of relative truth, and give an account of such contents on the basis of an analysis of generic one. Again making use of attitudinal objects, I will make clear what exactly distinguishes those contents from first-person-oriented contents of the first sort. (shrink)
Philosophers have defended various views about abstract objects by appealing to metaphysical considerations, considerations regarding mathematics or science, and, not infrequently, intuitions about natural language. This book pursues the question of how and whether natural language allows for reference to abstract objects in a fully systematic way. By making full use of contemporary linguistic semantics, it presents a much greater range of linguistic generalizations than has previously been taken into consideration in philosophical discussions, and it argues for an ontological picture (...) is very different from that generally taken for granted by philosophers and semanticists alike. Reference to abstract objects such as properties, numbers, propositions, and degrees is considerably more marginal than generally held. (shrink)
Terms such as 'wisdom' or 'happiness' are commonly held to refer to abstract objects that are properties. On the basis of a greater range of linguistic data and with the support of some ancient and medieval philosophical views, I argue that such terms do not stand for objects, but rather for kinds of tropes, entities that do not have the status of objects, but only play a role as semantic values of terms and as arguments of predicates. Such ‘non-objects’ crucially (...) differ from objects in that they are not potential bearers of properties. (shrink)
Clausal complements of different kinds of attitude verbs such as believe, doubt, be surprised, wonder, say, and whisper behave differently semantically in a number of respects. For example, they differ in the inference patterns they display. This paper develops a semantic account of clausal complements using partial logic which accounts for such semantic differences on the basis of a uniform meaning of clauses. It focuses on explaining the heterogeneous inference patterns associated with different kinds of attitude verbs, but it contributes (...) also to explaining differences among clausal complements of attitude verbs regarding the possibility of de re reference, anaphora support, presupposition satisfaction, and the distribution of subjunctive in certain languages. Moreover, it gives a new account of factivity. The point of departure of this paper is the general observation that the failure of inferences from attitude reports is relative in that it depends both on the general type of attitude and on the particular instance of the attitude described. Thus, from John is surprised that P and Q one cannot infer John is surprised that P and John is surprised that Q, though this is possible with believe. Conversely, one can infer from John believes that P and John believes that Q, to John believes that P and Q, but only as long as the same belief state of John is involved. In order to capture this dependency of inferences from attitude reports on a particular mental state or act, I propose an account on which clausal complements of attitude verbs (as well as independent sentences) characterize the intentional state or act described by the attitude verb in question, rather than referring to independent propositions. The semantic account of attitude reports of this paper can hence be called an 'event-based account' of clauses. Formally, the denotation of any sentence, both independent and embedded, is construed as a function mapping an intentional state or act to a function from situations (which form the content of the state or act) to truth values.. (shrink)
This paper explores a notion of a truth-bearing entity that is distinct both from a proposition and from an intentional event, state, or action, namely the notion of an attitudinal object. Attitudinal objects are entities like ‘John’s belief that S’, John’s claim that S’, ‘John’s desire that S’, or ‘John’s request that S’. The notion of an attitudinal object has an important precedent in the work of the Polish philosopher Twardowski (1912), who drew a more general distinction between ‘actions’ and (...) ‘products’, such as screaming, judging, and thinking on the one hand and a scream, a judgment, and a thought on the other hand. The paper argue that the action-product distinction is the distinction between actions and the abstract or physically realized artifacts that they may create. (shrink)
This paper explores a novel analysis of adjectives in the comparative and the positive based on the notion of a trope, rather than the notion of a degree. Tropes are particularized properties, concrete manifestations of properties in individuals. The point of departure is that a sentence like ‘John is happier than Mary’ is intuitively equivalent to ‘John’s happiness exceeds Mary’s happiness’, a sentence that expresses a simple comparison between two tropes, John’s happiness and Mary’s happiness. The analysis received particular support (...) from various parallels between adjectival constructions and corresponding adjective nominalizations which make reference to tropes. (shrink)
This paper defends a distinction between ‘abstract states’ and ‘concrete states’, following Maienborn (2005, 2007) in her account of the peculiar semantic behavior of stative verbs. The paper proposes an ontological account of the notion of an abstract state and discusses how it relates to the notion of a trope or particularized property, which has so far been neglected in the semantic literature on stative verbs.
Ever since Frege, propositions have played a central role in philosophy of language. Propositions are generally conceived as abstract objects that have truth conditions essentially and fulfill both the role of the meaning of sentences and of the objects or content of propositional attitudes. More recently, the abstract conception of propositions has given rise to serious dissatisfaction among a number of philosophers, who have instead proposed a conception of propositional content based on cognitive acts (Hanks, Moltmann, Soames). This approach is (...) not entirely new, though, but has important precedents in early analytic philosophy and phenomenology. The aim of this volume is bring together some of the most important texts from the relevant historical literature and new contributions from contemporary proponents of act-based conceptions of propositional content. (shrink)
Syntacticians have proposed three-dimensional syntactic structures to account for the peculiarities of coordination. This paper proposes a way of interpreting such structures and gives an account of sentences of the sort 'John bought and Mary sold a total of ten cars' based on a notion of 'implicit' coordination.
Propositions as mind-independent truth-bearing entities play a central role in contemporary philosophy of language. At the same time, propositions conceived as abstract objects have been subject to a range of recent criticism. A recent alternative approach, pursued by P. Hanks and S. Soames, is to consider propositions types of cognitive acts. This paper will argue for a notion of a truth-bearing entity that is distinct both from a proposition and a cognitive event, state, or action, and that is the notion (...) of an attitudinal object – or the product of a mental or illocutionary event. (shrink)
This paper argues for an ontological distinction between two kinds of universals, 'kinds of tropes' such as 'wisdom' and properties such as 'the property of being wise'. It argues that the distinction is parallel to that between two kinds of collections, pluralities such as 'the students' and collective objects such as 'the class'. The paper argues for the priortity of distributive readings with pluralities on the basis of predicates of extent or shape, such 'large' or 'long'.
The most common analyses of comparatives make use of degrees, abstract objects that form a total ordering. In this paper, I will explore a novel analysis of comparatives in which the central notion is not the notion of a degree, but rather the notion of a concrete property manifestation, a particularized property, or a trope, as it is most commonly called in contemporary metaphysics. This trope-based analysis, I argue, has some major conceptual and empirical advantages over a degree-based account. A (...) degree-based analysis of (1a) looks as in (1b) (Cresswell 1976, von Stechow 1984) or (1c) (Pinkal 1989, Moltmann 1992), with the adjective being taken to express a relation between objects and degrees. (shrink)
Quantified expressions in natural language generally are taken to act like quantifiers in logic, which either range over entities that need to satisfy or not satisfy the predicate in order for the sentence to be true or otherwise are substitutional quantifiers. I will argue that there is a philosophically rather important class of quantified expressions in English that act quite differently, a class that includes something, nothing, and several things. In addition to expressing quantification, such expressions act like nominalizations, introducing (...) a new domain of objects that would not have been present in the semantic structure of the sentence otherwise. The entities those expressions introduce are of just the same sort as those that certain ordinary nominalizations refer to (such as John's wisdom or John's belief that S), namely they are tropes or entities related to tropes. Analysing certain quantifiers as nominalizing quantifiers will shed a new light on philosophical issues such as the status of properties and the nature of propositional attitudes. (shrink)
In this paper, I will argue for a new account of presuppositions which is based on double indexing as well as minimal representational contexts providing antecedent material for anaphoric presuppositions, rather than notions of context defined in terms of the interlocutors’ pragmatic presuppositions or the information accumulated from the preceding discourse. This account applies in particular to new phenomena concerning the presupposition of quantifier domains. But it is also intended to be an account of presuppositions in general. The account differs (...) from the Satisfaction Theory and the Binding Theory of presuppositions in that it can be viewed as a conservative extension of traditional static semantics and in that it does not involve the notion of pragmatic presupposition. (shrink)
Unbound anaphoric pronouns or ‘E-type pronouns’ have presented notorious problems for semantic theory, leading to the development of dynamic semantics, where the primary function of a sentence is not considered that of expressing a proposition that may act as the object of propositional attitudes, but rather that of changing the current information state. The older, ‘E-type’ account of unbound anaphora leaves the traditional notion of proposition intact and takes the unbound anaphor to be replaced by a full NP whose semantics (...) is assumed to be known (e.g. a definite description). In this paper, I argue that there are serious problems with any version of the E-type account as well as the (original form of the) dynamic account. I will explore a new account based on structured propositions, which can be considered a conservative extension of a traditional proposition-based semantics, but which at the same time incorporates some crucial insights of the dynamic account. (shrink)
This book present a unified semantic theory of expressions involving the notions of "part" and "whole " in which principles of the individuation of part structures play a central role. The book presents a range of new empirical generalizations with data from English and a variety of other languages involving plurals, mass nouns, adnominal and adverbial modifiers such as 'whole', 'together', and 'alone', nominal and adverbial quanitfiers ranging over parts, and expressions of completion such as 'completely' and 'partly'. She develops (...) a new theory of part structures which differs from traditional mereological theories in that the notion of an integrated whole plays a central role and in that the part structure of an entity is allowed to vary across different situations, perspectives, and dimensions. (shrink)
In this paper I will give an analysis of what I call ‘generalizing detached self-reference’ within a general account of reference to the first person. With generalizing detached self-reference an agent attributes properties to a range of individuals by putting himself into their shoes, or simulating them. I will show that generalizing detached self-reference plays an important role in the semantics of natural language, in particular in the English generic one and in what syntacticians call arbitrary PRO.
This paper develops the notion of a situated part structure and applies it to the semantics of the modifiers 'whole' and 'individual'. It argues that the ambiguity of 'whole' should be traced to two different conceptions of part structures of objects being at play: one according to which the parts of an objects are just the material parts and another, Aristotelian conception according to which the parts of an object include properties of form.
In some recent developments of semantic theory, in particular certain versions of dynamic semantics, ‘internal’ contexts, that is, contexts defined in terms of the interlocutors’ pragmatic presuppositions or the information accumulated in the discourse have come to play a central role, replacing the notion of propositional content in favor of a notion of context change potential as the meaning of sentences. I will argue that there are a number of fundamental problems with this conception of sentence meaning and outline a (...) way of dealing with the ‘dynamic phenomena’ from the perspective of the traditional distinctions between propositional content and (internal) context as well between propositional content and illocutionary force, using structured propositions and minimal discourse-driven internal context. (shrink)
The complement of intensional transitive verbs, like any nonreferential complement, can be replaced by a ‘special quantifier’ or ‘special pronoun’ such as 'something', 'the same thing', or 'what'. In this paper, I will defend the ‘Nominalization Theory’ of special quantifiers against a range of apparent counterexamples involving intensional transitive verbs.